ARCHBOLD, Ohio — A tinny voice speaks over a radio: "We hope you'll enjoy your day with us, having fun in the past here at Sauder Village."
Sauder Village has continued to expand over the years across its sprawling 235-acres in Archbold. It's a local staple for field trips, family entertainment and mouth-watering food.
Erie Sauder began the living-history museum in 1972, which operates as a nonprofit. The village is staffed by hundreds of volunteers and paid employees, dedicated to bringing history to life.
The newest addition takes things back in time to the bygone era of the 1920s and its alluring charms.
The granddaughter of Erie Sauder, Debbie Sauder David, speaks with enthusiasm as she details just a few of the things the "new" Main Street features.
"Our 1920s Main Street here at Sauder Village is a wonderful addition to our walk-through-time experience that immerses guests in the history of northwest Ohio from the time of Ohio statehood, all the way to the roaring '20s in the beginning of the modern era. And, this is really the capstone project of a 15 year master plan that has been unveiled over the period of years with the help of donors, contributors, historic artifacts and buildings that were moved here and re-created and brings northwest Ohio history to life.
"We have an old-time soda fountain just like people would remember with the malts and the milkshakes! We have a candy store selling the old-time candy, and we have a theater, like the old art deco 1920s theater, showing the silent movies. We have a dry goods and clothing store."
A woman stands ready to welcome customers in to take a look at the latest fashions of the 1920s. "So this is the Wiederkehr clothing and dry goods store... This is where you would have come for all of your clothing, ready-made clothing and accessories as well as all the materials needed to make your clothing."
The next stop? A fire station, featuring a fire truck and hand pumper.
"In the early years the fire department would put a plaque on the homes and if you went out to a fire and it had your plaque on it, you put that fire out," explains one of the many workers who bring Sauder Village to life.
To cap it all off, it wouldn't truly be the 1920s without Main Street offering a little taste of the Prohibition Era.
A speakeasy sits behind the candy store, for after hours and special experiences. Turn aside a candy box and give a knock next to a cleverly disguised porthole. Just say the magic words and you're in for a different kind of sweet treat.
A smoking concoction sits on the bar in front of the mixologist. Appropriately, it is known as a "whiskey smoke."
"The spirits that we carry here are all of the ones that were part of the six distilleries that were part of the ones that had the government medicinal permits to make the spirits during prohibition," the mixologist explains.
"I am going to be so excited, because we've been talking about this for a long time, and Sauder Village was my grandfather Erie Sauder's vision. He started with a few log cabins and a museum building full of some of his tools and a historic home and farm that we had on this property.
"This was his retirement project and a gift to the community. And now to see this come up to more of a modern, relatable era that people can continue to get excited about and makes it more relevant in an ongoing basis... I am just pleased and excited to see it really happening," Debbie Sauder David concludes, as the piano plays out.
To check out Sauder Village, take a stroll to their website and plan your own visit.
Sauder Village is located at 22611 State Route 2, Archbold, OH 43502.